WELLINGTON (TIP): A packed, and largely boisterous, crowd at Westpac Stadium in Wellington was treated to an exhibition in swing bowling as Tim Southee sent England plummeting down with a stunning seven-wicket haul before Brendon McCullum tore into the England attack with a record-breaking fifty to hand New Zealand a massive win, their third on the trot this ICC World Cup. The right-armer finished with figures of seven for 33 to help the hosts bowl out an already beleaguered England side for a lowly score of 123. If folding for a low score wasn’t embarrassing enough, England’s bowling performance would’ve definitely ticked the box. Brendon McCullum came out all guns blazing, smashing a fifty off just 18 deliveries – the third fastest of all time, to help the hosts win by 8 wickets and complete their second highest win in ODIs.
On a pitch that had something in it for everyone, Southee dominated proceedings with a stunning display of bowling. He achieved his best ever bowling figures in an ODI, besting his five for 33 against Pakistan in 2011 at the same venue. He ended up with the best ever figures for a New Zealand player, bettering Shane Bond’s six for 19 against India. He was well supported by Trent Boult (one for 32), Daniel Vettori (one for 19) and Adam Milne (one for 25), while New Zealand’s stupendous fielding also helped in keeping the run flow in check and the pressure always high.
New Zealand were left facing the prospect of chasing a low total for the second time in as many game. But unlike the game against Scotland, during which they lost a string of wickets trying to chase down 143 quickly, New Zealand made a terrific start. Brendon McCullum, in particular, was in the mood for carnage as he slammed the fastest ever fifty in World Cups to put the hosts on course for a thumping win. He got to the landmark off just 18 deliveries, also recording the third fastest fifty of all time.
The NZ captain showed no sighs of stopping, celebrating his getting to a remarkable fifty by smashing Steven Finn for three consecutive sixes. New Zealand notched up their hundred in just the 7th over of the match. McCullum was out in the next over, but he had already walloped 77 off just 25 deliveries.
England finally got a break they were desperate for, but it did not come in the form they would have hoped for. With New Zealand just 12 runs short of a crushing win, the players were taken off the field for lunch. Martin Guptill was out in the first over after lunch, but Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor hit the remaining runs to extend New Zealand’s unbeaten streak against England in World Cups to 32 years.
Having been asked to bowl first, with England captain Eoin Morgan reckoning that the wicket will be batting friendly, New Zealand started off aggressively with captain Brendon McCullum operating with as many as four slips. After a tight first couple of overs, England’s openers Moeen Ali and Ian Bell found gaps on either side of the wicket to register their first boundaries.
Southee gave New Zealand their first breakthrough in the fifth over of the innings, beating Ian Bell with pace and late away movement and hitting the off-stump.